College Keys to Success

With final exams right around the corner, there is one major key to rule them all: catch up on your sleep! Whether you have to schedule in a nap or 12 or turn off the Netflix at a reasonable hour, sleeping well during finals is one of the best ways to succeed.

Problems

Lack of concentration

When you’re behind on sleep, the chances of you being able to keep from dozing off during finals review sessions are slim to none. Without those last-minute study guide answers and review games, there is no chance you will be in tip top brain shape for exams.

Forgetfulness in full force

Not only will you not know the content from snoozing through class, the few answers you do know will vanish right before your eyes come test time. Without the proper amount of sleep, not only will you forget names, numbers and formulas, but you can forget getting an A on those exams.

Breakouts left and right

With minimal sleep, you can go ahead and kiss your strong immune system goodbye! What comes with a weakened immune system aside from countless illnesses that are already prominent this time of year? ACNE! As if breakouts aren’t already a big enough problem with finals stress, slacking on sleep will make things even worse.

Aggression is out of control

Like a baby come naptime, adults behind on sleep are just giant cranky toddlers. Not only are you more likely to snap at the cute guy/girl sitting next to you who asks to borrow a pencil before the exam, you will not get brownie points with professors. Thinking about talking your way into a higher grade? If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, there’s a 100% chance your inner devil will come out and ruin your chances of a percentage boost.

Overall negative effect on health

In general, not sleeping, especially around finals time, is going to decrease your health. Fatigue heightens the effects of alcohol and increases your need for caffeine. Too much caffeine on two hours of sleep will drive you practically insane. You will also be too tired to cook for yourself and resort to eating McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brain food, am I right?

 

Solutions

Sneak in an afternoon nap

While this certainly isn’t going to be realistic once you enter the real world, getting in a midday nap has been my key to success for the last four years of college. Whether it’s a 20 minute cat-nap in between classes or a two hour knockout at noon, catching up on sleep during the day can make a world of a difference if you’re struggling to get those nighttime zzz’s.

Create the ultimate sleep cave

What is a better way to ensure you are going to sleep your absolute best at night? Create the ultimate sleep cave! Complete with blackout curtains, fluffy marshmallow linens and cool temperatures, there’s no way you will be able to stay awake. The goal here is to make your bed as comfortable as humanly possible for sleep. And don’t forget: turn off the TV and put your phone on Do Not Disturb for the perfect sleep cave.

Avoid caffeine close to bedtime

I know, I know, caffeine is practically the only thing keeping college students alive these days. However, the closer to bedtime you drink it, the more you will be hurting in the morning. This seems like a no brainer, but I too have fallen victim to the “order a venti latte at 9:00 p.m., don’t fall asleep until 4:00 a.m.” habit. Do yourself a favor and go to bed when you’re tired and wake up early, well-rested.

Stay true to your alarms

Speaking of going to bed when you’re tired, make sure you are sticking to your alarms! Not to sound like your mother here, but setting strict bedtimes for yourself during finals week is one of the best ways to make sure you get plenty of sleep. And while it’s realistic to hit the snooze a couple of times in the morning, try waking up to “Mr. Blue Sky” to get your morning off to a great start!

Don’t procrastinate

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to make sure you get enough sleep and know your stuff come exam day is to not procrastinate. I am guilty of waiting until the last minute to review notes and write papers, and it has brought me nothing but heavy eyelids and a loopy brain during finals. Be better than me, guys! You can do this! 

Kelsey Mattingly